Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19, says report

first_img“We will put action in place as soon as we can. We won’t wait for a report,” Hancock said.Doctors, politicians and footballers have been among those vocal in expressing concern about the unexplained higher mortalities in ethnic minorities.The report said that people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had approximately twice the risk of death of people who were white British.Those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani or other Asian ethnicity, as well as those of Caribbean or other Black ethnicity, had between a 10 to 50% higher risk of death than those in the white British group, PHE said. The findings echo a previous study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released last month.The opposition Labor party called for swift action.”Families are living in fear. There must be no more delay. The government must take urgent action to protect at-risk groups,” lawmaker David Lammy said.Britain’s testing chief John Newton said although Tuesday’s report showed worse outcomes for minority groups, it may not be directly caused by their ethnicity, but related to their job.The report was published a day before planned protests in London about the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.Topics : Black and Asian people in England are up to 50% more likely to die after becoming infected with COVID-19, an official study said on Tuesday, putting pressure on the government to outline plans to protect the most at-risk communities.While the report by Public Health England (PHE) reinforced previous studies which indicated ethnic minority groups were more at risk from the virus, it was not accompanied by specific government advice for those people.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch would look at the issue further.last_img read more

Bulgaria to extend coronavirus state of emergency until mid-July

first_imgTopics : Bulgaria will extend a state of emergency declared in response to the coronavirus outbreak until July 15 after another jump in new registered cases, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev said on Wednesday.Bulgaria began to relax restrictions to stop the spread of the virus earlier this month, but last week it reported 606 new COVID-19 cases, its highest weekly rise since the epidemic.Some 130 new cases were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total to date to 4,114, with 208 deaths. The latest jump prompted Ananiev’s decision to reimpose the mask requirement at all indoor public venues, including trains and buses. “We have an increase of the intensity of the epidemic and an increase of coronavirus spread,” Ananiev told a government meeting.He said the average daily number of people infected with coronavirus from June 10 to June 24 jumped more than three times (from 26 to 84 cases in a single day) compared with the previous two-week period.Ananiev said the Black Sea state would not impose new measures or bring back tougher restrictions, but would step up controls on social distancing, obligatory face masks indoors and will keep travel bans for most countries outside the EU.Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said during the meeting that unless social distancing among fans at soccer matches improved, he would order games to be played behind closed doors.last_img read more

Ignoring outrage, Trump makes good on WHO pullout

first_imgThe withdrawal of the key WHO founding member is effective in one year — July 6, 2021. Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in November elections, vowed he would immediately end the pullout if he won the White House.”Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage,” Biden wrote on Twitter.WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded to the news with a one-word tweet — “Together!” — as he linked to a discussion by US health experts on how leaving the global body could impede efforts to prevent future pandemics.In line with conditions set when the WHO was set up in 1948, the United States can leave within one year but must meet its remaining assessed financial obligations, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. ‘Total control’ In late May, Trump said that China exerted “total control” over the WHO and accused the UN body led by Tedros, an Ethiopian doctor and diplomat, of failing to implement reforms.Blaming China for the coronavirus, Trump, a frequent critic of the UN, said the United States would redirect funding “to other worldwide and deserving, urgent, global public health needs.”Democratic lawmakers have accused Trump of seeking to deflect criticism from his handling of the pandemic in the United States, which has suffered by far the highest death toll of any nation despite the president’s stated hope that the virus will disappear.”To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic and incoherent doesn’t do it justice,” said Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.”This won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick and America alone,” he said.Representative Ami Bera, himself a physician, said that the United States and World Health Organization had worked “hand in hand” to eradicate smallpox and nearly defeat polio.”Our cases are increasing,” Bera said of COVID-19. “If the WHO is to blame: why has the US been left behind while many countries from South Korea to New Zealand to Vietnam to Germany return to normal?”Even some of Trump’s Republican allies had voiced hope that he was exerting pressure rather than making a final decision to abandon the World Health Organization.The investigative news outlet ProPublica reported last month that most of Trump’s aides were blindsided by the WHO withdrawal announcement, which he made during an appearance about China. The Trump administration has said that the WHO ignored early signs of human-to-human transmission in China, including warnings from Taiwan — which, due to Beijing’s pressure, is not part of the UN body.While many public health advocates share some criticism of the WHO, they question what other options the world body had other than to work with China, where COVID-19 was first detected late last year in the city of Wuhan.The anti-poverty campaign ONE said the United States should work to reform, not abandon, the WHO.”Withdrawing from the World Health Organization amidst an unprecedented global pandemic is an astounding action that puts the safety of all Americans the world at risk,” it said. President Donald Trump on Tuesday formally started the withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization, making good on threats to deprive the UN body of its top funding source over its response to the coronavirus.Public health advocates and Trump’s political opponents voiced outrage at the departure from the Geneva-based body, which leads the global fight on maladies from polio to measles to mental health — as well as COVID-19, at a time when cases have again been rising around the world.After threatening to suspend the $400 million in annual US contributions and then announcing a withdrawal, the Trump administration has formally sent a notice to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a State Department spokesperson said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

UK’s COVID-19 outcome has not been good, mistakes were likely made: Chief scientist

first_img“It’s very difficult to know exactly where we stand at the moment. It’s clear that the outcome has not been good in the UK ..,” Patrick Vallance told lawmakers, adding that some countries had done worse.”There will be things, decisions made, that will turn out not to have been the right decisions at the time, I’m sure about that as well.”He said the advice to introduce stringent lockdown measures was made when the rate at which the epidemic doubled increased to three days from six or seven days beforehand, but added that such advice could only be given once the data came in.Heath Secretary Matt Hancock, questioned about Vallance’s assertion that scientific advisers had recommended measures be taken earlier, told lawmakers the lockdown had started on March 16, rather than a week later when Johnson told Britons they must stay at home.”The 16th of March is the day I came to this House and said all unnecessary social contact should cease,” he said. “That is precisely when the lockdown was started.”Vallance said there were “pretty strong hints” the new coronavirus was seasonal and could return in future years.”What we’re dealing with now is a suppressed first wave,” he said. “I think it’s quite probable that we will see this virus coming back in different waves over a number of years.”Topics : Britain has not achieved a good outcome in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s chief scientific adviser said on Thursday, adding that he was sure mistakes had been made.Britain has the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, which, including deaths from suspected cases, is nearly 56,000 according to a Reuters tally of official data sources.Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a lockdown on March 23, though a former member of the government’s scientific advisory group has said that introducing measures a week earlier could have halved the death toll.last_img read more

White House to lure US firms to Latam from Asia in nearshoring drive, senior adviser says

first_imgHe said the outbreak had clearly demonstrated the advantages of having suppliers based closer to the United States than in Asia.The initiative would not focus on cheap labor costs, but would build on provisions aimed at protecting workers that were included in the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that entered into force in July, he added.Claver-Carone also said there needed to be an improvement in transparency over Chinese lending in Latin America.He said Ecuador in particular was “not being able to advance and move forward and kind of unshackle itself from that unfair, over-collateralized debt to China.”Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has sought to renegotiate the terms of its debt to China, which totaled $6.5 billion in 2018.China invests heavily in Latin America and has been responsible for more than $40 billion in lending to the region since 2015, according to Inter-American Dialogue data.The United States wants to “collaborate” with China to ensure its lending practices in the region are more transparent, said Claver-Carone, echoing a push by the World Bank.The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately reply to a request for comment.’Overwhelming support’If he wins a September election, Claver-Carone would be the first US candidate to head the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Latin America’s principal development finance institution.His candidacy has prompted push-back from some Latin American countries and former leaders, including publicly-shared letters signed by former presidents and ministers stating their opposition.Claver-Carone, who as a top Latin American adviser for Trump has played a key role pushing for punitive measures against socialist-run Venezuela and Cuba, said he had “overwhelming support” from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.He said 15 countries in the region had publicly supported him for the IDB job and six others, which he declined to name, had privately expressed their backing.  The Trump administration is readying a new initiative that would use financial incentives to encourage US firms to move production facilities out of Asia and into the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, a senior White House adviser said on Wednesday.The project could bring $30 billion to $50 billion in US investment back to the Americas, Mauricio Claver-Carone told Reuters in an interview, adding that infrastructure, energy and transportation could be the first potential areas of focus.”We’re essentially creating a ‘Back to the Americas’ initiative,” he said. That would include both returning some facilities outsourced to China back to the United States and basing others in Latin America and the Caribbean in a drive for more so-called nearshoring, Claver-Carone said. He gave no details about the scope of possible incentives, but pointed to the administration’s use of a $765 million loan to encourage Eastman Kodak Co to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the United States to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.US President Donald Trump has made “Buy America” policies a centerpiece of his administration since taking office in 2017, with those efforts accelerating sharply since the turmoil created by the pandemic.The United States and China signed a trade deal in January, but tensions have mounted in recent months over Beijing’s handling of the outbreak, a national security law limiting the autonomy of Hong Kong, and other issues.Claver-Carone said the administration had already been working with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to help them attract US investors, but the pandemic helped convince US companies it was time to get on board. He did not name any companies.center_img Topics :last_img read more

US tests intercontinental ballistic missile

first_imgThe Minuteman III has been the only surface-to-air missile in the US nuclear arsenal since 2005. It is installed at bases in Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana.Trident nuclear missiles are deployed on US submarines, and US strategic bombers also carry nuclear devices. The United States on Tuesday successfully tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a launch directed from an airborne command center, the Air Force said.The missile was launched at 12:21 am (0721 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, travelling 6,700 kilometers (4,200 miles) over the Pacific Ocean before landing in the sea near the Marshall Islands.”The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Airmen… were aboard the US Navy E-6 aircraft to demonstrate the reliability and effectiveness” of the airborne launch control system, it said.Colonel Omar Colbert, commander of 576th Flight Test Squadron, said “the Minuteman III is 50 years old, and continued test launches are essential.””This visible message of national security serves to assure our allies and dissuade potential aggressors,” he said.The Air Force added that test launches were “not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Govt seeks to boost tourism in West Sumatra with new port, road

first_imgTopics : West Sumatra recorded a contraction of 33.24 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the accommodation sector as the province’s economy plunged by 4.91 percent yoy in the April-June period.The Jokowi administration is also developing a road to support the connectivity of the planned Tapang Bay Port to bolster not only the province’s tourism, but also its trade.The Transportation Ministry aimed to conclude by August the detailed engineering design of the port infrastructure as the government had completed the feasibility study and the master plan, said Ridwan.With regards to supporting infrastructure, the government has built 33.86 kilometers of the roads to connect the port. It has also built seven bridges of a total 13 planned.“We want to develop the coastal areas of West Sumatra, so they are not left behind other areas by constructing a road connecting Bunga Tanjung and the port location, as well as other infrastructure on the side of Tapang Bay Port,” said Ridwan.West Sumatra Deputy Governor Nasrul Abit said his office was preparing the necessary permits to expedite the development of the Marina Center and the infrastructure to support the Tapang Bay Port.“It is Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministre Luhut Pandjaitan’s idea via deputy Ridwan to develop the Marina Center in the estuary, which will connect to Mentawai Islands regency,” said Nasrul, a Gerindra party politician. “We are preparing all the permits. We are expecting everything to be processed as soon as possible.” The government plans to develop port infrastructure in Padang to spur tourism in West Sumatra, especially in the Mentawai Islands regency, an official has said.The planned Marina Center would not only serve as a port but also culinary center, said Ridwan Djamaluddin, the undersecretary of infrastructure and transportation coordination at the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister.The port, to be operated by state-owned PT Pelindo II, emerges as the government’s measure to offer sea transportation for tourists wanting to visit the Mentawai Islands regency, an aspiring destination for surfers. It will give tourists an additional option as the government also plans to develop an airport on the island.“There is a world-class tourist attraction in the Mentawai Islands regency. Thus, we need to prepare quality infrastructure, so when tourists want to visit the island, they have a good port here,” Ridwan was quoted in a statement as saying on Monday.The plan comes at a time when tourism in West Sumatra has almost ground to a halt. No foreign tourists came in through Minangkabau International Airport in Padang Pariaman regency in June, marking zero foreign arrivals for a third consecutive months as the industry was reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.But the occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in the province started to pick up by 9.87 percentage points to 21.14 percent in June from May, in part thanks to government officials on work trips.last_img read more

Public health key to Indonesia’s economic recovery, Jokowi says

first_img“Let’s not restart the economy before we have properly handled this COVID-19 issue,” Jokowi added.Read also: Medics dying, infections soaring — it’s still the economy?The President’s statement came as an about-face following a number of government policies that sought to expedite the reopening of the country’s business sector and other public activities despite lingering virus fears.In May, for instance, the Transportation Ministry caught flak for allowing public transportation services to resume even as the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) ban remained in effect due to COVID-19 concerns.Last month, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry decided to postpone its initial plans to reopen several top tourist destinations in the country, including Bali, as the pandemic continued unabated.Meanwhile, in Jakarta, the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to soar following its decision to ease previously imposed restrictions as the capital, Indonesia’s financial hub and an engine of growth for the economy, gradually reopened the economy and businesses under health protocols beginning early June.The Health Ministry announced 3,444 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 194,109.The latest daily figures continue the upward COVID-19 trend in the archipelago, which began spiking in early August with health authorities confirming thousands of new cases every day. According to data released by the ministry on Sunday, 85 more people have died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 8,025.Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reminded his aides to prioritize health and COVID-19 mitigation to ensure the survival of all facets of the nation’s development, including the country’s economy, which has been battered by the global pandemic.Health is key to economic recovery, Jokowi said.“Good health will lead to a good economy,” the President said during a meeting with his Cabinet members. “Our number one focus is health and COVID-19 mitigation.”He called on the national COVID-19 and economic recovery committee, as well as other related authorities, to put pandemic mitigation above all else, saying that economic recovery could only begin once public health has been restored.The President also warned about the possibility of the upcoming regional elections – set to take place on Dec. 9 – creating new COVID-19 infection clusters, urging the Home Ministry to take the necessary precautions to anticipate and prevent health hazards during the major political event.Furthermore, Jokowi called on the Health Ministry to devise a comprehensive testing plan so that every region across the archipelago could gain access to equal testing.last_img read more

MUI advises Muslims to pray at home as Indonesia sees increasing COVID-19 cases

first_imgIndonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi has advised Muslims to pray at home as COVID-19 cases in the nation have shown several spikes over the past few months. “Muslims in areas with a high number of [COVID-19] cases are advised to refrain from performing Friday and regular prayers in public places,” Muhyiddin said on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.Indonesia saw another record-high of 3,861 daily virus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 207,203.As for Muslims in areas with a low number of cases, Muhyiddin suggested they pay attention to health protocols and implement them when performing prayers in public places.Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresHe also reminded Muslims to carry out more good deeds by helping other people in need through zakat (alms) as well as donations.Muhyiddin also asked preachers to help educate Muslims on the importance of health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic through sermons.He also encouraged all Muslims to say a certain prayer, asking for God’s protection from the infection. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

UI lecturers demand university take legal action against PKS lawmaker over sex-ed claim

first_imgSeveral lecturers of the University of Indonesia (UI) have urged the university’s rector to take legal action against Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) lawmaker Almuzzamil Yusuf.Previously, Almuzzamil said in a video posted on his Instagram account on Sept. 16 that the university’s “endorsement” of consensual sex in this year’s freshman orientation program (PKKMB UI) could lead to the prevalence of “free sex” among youth and, therefore, jeopardize the country’s moral and religious principles.In a letter dated Sept. 17 and signed by at least 12 lecturers, they demanded the rector ask for Al Muzzammil’s clarification and an official apology. The lecturers also called on the university to report Al Muzzammil for violating Article 27 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, saying the lawmaker had humiliated and defamed the university.”Al Muzzammil Yusuf has clearly attacked, humiliated and defamed the university. He has made a false accusation. The University of Indonesia has never taught consensual sex for students,” read the statement.They also urged the university to issue an official letter to the House of Representatives and People’s Consultative Assembly speakers, the House’s Ethics Council and the PKS faction to remove Al Muzzamil from his position as a lawmaker.Read also: UI under fire for emphasizing consensual sex in sex-ed orientation videoRepresentatives of the UI academics said the material about sexual violence in this year’s orientation program, which was held online from Sept. 7 to 11, was based on existing regulations.“We educated the students about sexual violence based on the Pornography Law and the Domestic Violence Law. We delivered nothing inappropriate to the freshmen,” the statement further said.Al Muzzamil on Saturday uploaded another video to his Instagram page, in which he said sexual education was indeed important, but the UI should not use the “sexual consent” approach which is “still controversial, even in Western countries.””Because besides the self-protection aspect, sexual consent also contains justification and a permissive attitude toward sex outside of marriage based on mutual consent. It contradicts the religious value,” he said.Topics :last_img read more